The Peer Leadership group at Belfast Area High School will be hosting a Red Cross blood drive Tuesday, May 31, at Belfast Area High School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact the high school at 338-1790, ext. 308, or email to sign up to donate.

The need is great

  • Blood cannot be manufactured. Its only source is a healthy volunteer donor.
  • The American Red Cross provides about half the nation’s blood supply — roughly six million pints per year.
  • Nationally, less than 5 percent of the population gives blood.
  • 500 pints of blood must be collected every working day in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to meet patient needs.
  • The Northern New England Red Cross Region serves 83 hospitals.
  • Blood is perishable. Red blood cells must be used within 42 days. Other blood products must be used within 5 days.
  • Certain times of the year are more challenging than others for blood collections.
  • During the best of times, blood inventories are just a few days ahead of demand. A five day supply of all blood types would be ideal, and the Red Cross is comfortable with a three day supply.
  • With such a small window between supply and demand, it doesn’t take much to negatively impact the community’s blood supply. Many times, blood supplies — particularly of O positive and O negative — can quickly drop down to less than a day’s supply. When this happens, hospitals may have to cancel elective surgery until reserves are back up.
  • Because it takes a few days before blood donations can be processed, test and distributed to hospitals, it is the blood that is on the shelves today — ready and waiting — that helps save lives.

Blood helps save lives

  • Blood is available to any patient who needs it. Patients are not required to find donors to replace the blood they used. It is a community responsibility.
  • One pint of blood is separated into its component parts — red cells, plasma and platelets — and given to several different patients.
  • Blood transports nutrients and oxygen, fights infection, provides clotting factors and eliminates wastes.
  • Blood products are used for surgery, trauma, chemotherapy, kidney dialysis, hemophilia, shock and other life-threatening conditions.